David A. Attisani

David Attisani is a partner in Choate’s Insurance & Reinsurance Group, which is top-ranked by Reactions (#1 reinsurance and litigation firm in 2012) and by The 2013 Legal 500 guide to preeminent law firms.

Mr. Attisani has served as lead counsel with respect to the following claims: COVID-19 BI and WC; NFL CTE; the California wildfires; 9/11; “Obamacare”; life rate increase disputes; spousal continuation; Superstorm Sandy; Hurricanes Wilma, Katrina, Harvey, Maria, and Irma; the Las Vegas shooting; the “Big Dig” Tunnel Collapse; NY “reviver” molestation claims; Archdiocese of L.A. and Society of Jesus clergy abuse; Boy Scouts of America sex abuse; the Nikita Levy/ Johns Hopkins “rogue” doctor case; and Sphere Drake.

Clients include: Swiss Re; Munich Re; Endurance/Sompo; Chubb; Andover Companies; Liberty Mutual; The Hartford; Berkley; Partner Re.

Mr. Attisani was named one of Law360's “10 Most Admired Insurance Attorneys in America” for 2010—out of 1,016 nominations from 100 firms. He was also the first-ever Boston-area attorney to be recognized in the Chambers USA nationwide rankings for Insurance/Reinsurance (2014-2020). He is No. 2 on the 2019 Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders list of the most highly regarded individuals in Insurance and Reinsurance law -- out of 1,426 eligible lawyers in North America. He is one of only 12 reinsurance lawyers listed in The 2016 and 2017 Legal 500’s elite “Leading Lawyers” category, a designation he also received in 2015, 2012 and 2011. He was also named to the inaugural Legal 500 Hall of Fame, which recognizes elite leading lawyers who have consistently been ranked for six consecutive years— one of only 455 partners in the U.S. selected for this honor. Mr. Attisani was also elected to Best of the Best USA (2009-2014) in Insurance & Reinsurance, which recognizes only 30 US industry professionals. In 2016, Mr. Attisani was one of only 5 U.S. insurance and reinsurance attorneys to be named “Most Highly Regarded” in the 13th annual edition of Who’s Who Legal: Insurance & Reinsurance (one of 15 in the world). He was also elected to the World’s Leading Insurance and Reinsurance Lawyers (2006-2018). Mr. Attisani is listed in Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Law (2012-2020) and was named a 2020 “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation. He was also independently nominated by multiple clients as one of the most outstanding lawyers they have worked with, and is included in the Acritas Stars multinational, peer recommended lawyers database. 

Mr. Attisani is a Fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel, a group of preeminent re/insurance lawyers, where membership is obtained by nomination and is limited to 1,000 lawyers. He is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, where membership is limited to 1% of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. In addition, Mr. Attisani is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and an adjunct member of the International Association of Claims Professionals (fka “Excess/Surplus Lines Claims Association”). He is also co-chairman of the ABA’s Reinsurance Subcommittee, and a member of the ARIAS-US Education Committee (2013-present).

Practice Focus

Insurance & Reinsurance Litigation: insurance coverage and reinsurance arbitration and litigation on behalf of reinsurers, cedents and intermediaries; risk management; alternative dispute resolution; coverage arbitration and litigation for insurance companies involving financial issues, variable annuities, environmental damage, E&O/D&O, 9/11 losses, clergy abuse claims, major storm losses (Sandy, Wilma, Katrina, Ike), toxic tort, asbestos, and health risks (Obamacare).

Representative Engagements

  • Currently represent reinsurer in California Wildfires dispute.
  • Currently represent insurer in nationwide clergy and Boy Scouts of America “reviver” molestation claims.
  • Currently represent reinsurer in molestation case involving faculty member.
  • Currently represent domestic cedents and reinsurers in variable annuity and other life and health disputes.
  • Currently represent foreign reinsurer in NFL CTE disputes.
  • Currently serve as enterprise counsel to reinsurer with respect to Las Vegas shootings claims.
  • Recently and successfully represented foreign reinsurer in ILW dispute involving Hurricane Harvey losses.
  • Recently and successfully represented one cedent and two reinsurers with respect to ice dam claims emanating from the Winter of 2015.
  • Successfully represented domestic cedent in court battle that yielded a finding of civil contempt against the adversary.
  • Successfully represented reinsurer in dispute over payments related to Obamacare.
  • Successfully represented reinsurer in rogue physician case settled for over $180M.
  • Successfully represented foreign reinsurer in dispute involving Superstorm Sandy.
  • Successfully represented  top cedent in connection with clergy abuse claims.
  • Successfully represented domestic reinsurer in $100 million property/captive reinsurance dispute.
  • Successfully represented top 10 global reinsurer in connection with losses emanating from allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.
  • Successfully represented domestic cedent in connection with losses emanating from the financial crisis.
  • Successfully represented top reinsurer in $100M dispute involving treaty’s mechanism for “special acceptances.”
  • Successfully represented top reinsurers in well-publicized NECC dispute involving fungal meningitis attributed to contaminated pharma products.

  • Successfully represented top reinsurer in connection with World Trade Center (9/11) losses.

  • Successfully represented major U.S. ceding company in connection with World Trade Center (9/11) losses.

  • Successfully served as lead counsel in the “Big Dig”/Central Artery Connector (the largest construction project in Boston’s history) coverage litigation in the Business Litigation section of the MA state trial court.

  • Successfully represented Turkish insurer in dispute over 1037 km segment of Crude Oil Pipeline.

  • Successfully represented domestic cedent in connection with claims involving the Boy Scouts of America.

  • Successfully represented domestic reinsurer in dispute over cover for unallocated expenses.

  • Successfully represented domestic cedent in aggregation dispute involving food-related injuries.

  • Successfully represented domestic cedent with respect to claims emanating from large asbestos losses.

  • Successfully represented London insurer in coverage dispute adverse to California and English policyholders.

  • Successfully represented top U.S. cedent in dispute over declaratory judgment expenses.

  • Successfully represented MGA in contract wording dispute.

  • In 2010-2011, represented 14 different reinsurers located in Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States in domestic litigation involving ECO, XPL, and allocation disputes.

  • In June 2010, obtained summary adjudication award for Top 10 reinsurer in net retention dispute.

  • Successfully represented major domestic cedent in three arbitration matters and collected more than $60M in principal reimbursements, plus interest, from 2006-2008.

  • Argued summary judgment on behalf of Swiss Re in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in 2003 and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 2005.
    Commercial Union Ins. Company. v. Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation

  • Obtained dismissals for two Bermudan MGA’s in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Second Circuit in 2000-2001.
    Odyssey Re (London) Limited v. Stirling Cooke Brown Holdings Limited (“Sphere Drake”).

Publications and Presentations

Mr. Attisani served as the 2012 – 2014 reinsurance editor of and a contributing author to the Appleman Insurance treatise. He has served on the faculty at ARIAS-US, the Excess & Surplus Lines Claims Association (now, IACP), Mealey’s Reinsurance, ABIR (Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers), the ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation Midyear Meeting, Perrin Conferences (London 2012), the PWC/Hawksmere Reinsurance Congress (Bermuda) and other seminars. Mr. Attisani co-chaired the Spring 2012 ARIAS Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, and the Fall 2006 ARIAS meeting in New York City, and also hosted an ARIAS Seminar entitled “Reinsurance Beyond APH:  A New World Order” in March 2018. He has been quoted in various trade publications and written several articles, including:

Professional and Community Involvement

Mr. Attisani served as a special prosecutor in the Suffolk County (City of Boston) District Attorney’s Office, where he tried 19 cases to verdict. He is a member of the New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, and American Bar Associations.

Education & Credentials

Harvard Law School
JD, 1991, cum laude
Williams College
BA, 1987, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa



New York



U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

David's Insights